John 15:18-21 (NASB)
Disciples’ Relation to the World
18 If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me.
My old pastor said, “There is nothing new in scripture, just old truths waiting to be uncovered.” I agree with this statement. We tend to overlook the obvious and simple things, the things that are staring us right in the eye. This is one.
I posted on the “Rapture Ready” message boards for a good year and a half. My sister, as well as several other brothers and sisters in Christ went up against atheists and agnostics from different parts of the world. For those unfamiliar with debate in general or debating on such hot topics as creationism, biblical archaeology, the life and times of Jesus, evolution, etc… it can be a little blood boiling at times. Especially when you and the person that are having a discussion really get to exchanging blows. You have to know your stuff and know how to back up your position. There is no, “That’s just the way it is, that’s why.”, answers to arguments. You have to have your ‘p’s and q’s’ backed up.
That’s just a little background as to where I am coming from. My point is short and simple, but it is one of those little moments of clarity and understanding. Here is some testimony.
While debating with people that don’t take God’s word as fact or have rejected religion outright, and you had better be prepared to be called less than desirable names. Just be prepared to accept the fact that the vast majority of these people think your are an idiot. I’ll stop there.
I remember debating this guy who would not listen to reason and kept dancing around points and switching points, you could not pin him down. When you are in the heat of this type of debate, your mind is racing, the adrenaline is going, and you have attitude. You also get so mad when they say stuff against you personally…not against God’s word mind you, but you personally. And so I was in it! Typing stuff and just waiting for the response, so I could tear this person apart. There came a point where I was so mad at this gentleman, and I literally was sitting in judgment on this guy, that the above section of scripture just came to me. I had to step back and really come to terms with what my focus and or objective was in all of this. Verses 18 and 20 from the Book of John found its way to my computer screen.
I need to interject here, that my sister and I were tag teaming these guys on a daily basis, and we received several comments from moderators and other posters on the great job we were doing. I myself, I have pride issues at times, and those that know me will vouch for that. I’ve said it before, I’m not perfect, and I can run through a list of character flaws if you wish. I am a work in progress and I thank and PRAISE GOD he hasn’t given up on me yet. It does feel good to be bragged on, and boosts the ego, but you have to keep a perspective on why and what you are doing. We do need encouragement to keep going, but we can’t let this go to our heads.
This said, I found that scripture and it pulled me back down to earth, so to speak. Who was I to think that I deserved any type of respect for what I was saying? This world hated Him, and he took all that treatment and abuse for us to keep us out of Hell … he took our ‘hell’ for us and suffered for everyone so that we don’t have to go there. And here is little old me with a huge ego going on thinking, “Who are they to talk to me like that?” I don’t deserve this kind of verbal punishment, the scoff and the ridicule. A slave is not greater than the master.
Go back and read, or better yet, go get the Passion of the Christ and visually take a look, a glimpse of what Jesus went through. I have heard testimonies from grown men, nonetheless, that have said, “I never really understood what his suffering entailed until I saw that movie.” And to drive the point home it says that he didn’t deserve any of it. He was the ‘lamb without spot and blemish.’ Did you see him lash out and take vengeance? No, he will, but that is not our job. Ours is to preach that gospel and follow his example, not exact his vengeance for him, or condemn our fellow man. We preach Christ to win souls for the kingdom, that is our commission.
We aren’t anything special, deserving of any special treatment or privilege. So, I took this and looked at life. I wouldn’t bring this up, but I have been reminded of this recently. Persecution is what we as Christians have to come to terms with. He says he sends us out as ‘lambs to the slaughter’ for his namesake. The world doesn’t love us. Those atheists and evolutionists don’t love your positions on many things. Your fellow workers don’t necessarily ‘love you’. Especially if they are not Christians. Your life is a witness whether you want it to be or not. People will scrutinize you, and if they are not believers, or friends, they are waiting for you to screw up. Sometimes other believers are waiting for you to mess up, check my other blogs, and this, we need to stop this. The point, is that we need to accept that persecution is going to happen in other ways than being locked up in some prison cell somewhere or being fed to the lions. You are in Satan’s cross hairs daily, and especially more frequently depending on whether or not you are in God’s will. He won’t bother you if you are not, because you aren’t a threat. Accept the fact and just know that you are not better than the master and that this is a reality of the Christian walk.
“Cheer up Saints, it’s going to get worse!” ~ Doc Scott
Grace and peace,